Sunday, November 09, 2008

The real state of real estate.... real'i'ty bites i guess

Building or owning your 'dream home' can be quite an ordeal. Since childhood we grew up hearing that real estate is the only real thing whose prices always escalate, and hence are the best investment to keep with the increasing cost of living. In our parents time getting the banks to sanction you a home loan was herculean tasks. Our parents who earned meager amounts would have to run trips up and down to and from the bank, getting them convinced enough to disburse them a loan. Look at how this scenario has changed today... today the bank hire agents to run after you, and provide you with details of how much loan you are eligible to get, how much you need to pay monthly, and also do all the documentation and paper work for you. The same market is so much more dynamic today. Banks are not only willing to take huge risks by giving loans, and but also have an unscrupulous mechanism of loan recovery very much in place! The next time you miss a loan payment, don't be surprised to see your neighborhood goonda at your door, threatening to break your neck if you don't pay up!!

Investing in the right property at the right time is the key. Though there are few who may not have gained a lot, but one may not have lost too much either. The luckiest of those are the ones who invested in the potential places at the right time, either owing to their foresight or sometimes by sheer chance! Their property values have doubled over just a matter of 2-3 years which is really short. Irrespective of the quality, size, looks etc. that should essentially determine the value of the property, the current price gets driven by the location (usually one tries to get as close to work as possible), connectivity, and availability of resources around the area. This is justified as most sane civilians like us would like to reside in relatively inhabited areas with the minimum available resources, rather than buy a mansion in the wilderness! Makes sense...

But there are these times when you hob around these so-called 'lucrative' areas, thinking they may by chance get you the property within your budget. Their brief over the call about the area gives you an illusion that you would visit the site and soon be signing off documents and close the deal in a jiffy. The reality only hits you when you get to the location, and realize it wasn't as close to your work as the guy described it. Not only was the location not close enough, but when you walk into the semi-built block to inspect the quite-pricey apartment, you are appalled by how such a huge space could have been grossly misused to build a shack like that!!! And remember that you are within a reasonable radius around your workplace; you just can't convince yourself that you would be paying a price like 'that' for a home like 'this'.

Given that today the prices of real estate a nearing saturation in the metros, no one can expect their money grow to a double in a short time, irrespective of how lucrative the area has 'already' become today! There needs to be a better balance... and every decision is so critical owing to the whooping sum one ends up paying as 'EMI' today... we even have movies being made about EMI now.... shows how much of an everyday concern it has become to lesser beings like us, stretching our budgets and curbing our expenditures to be able to afford places like this, and that too having to compromise on the looks of the home itself at times!

The other strategy of course, would be to look at the next-upcoming areas and predict the venerability of those areas today. With the present drive of our development and vote-hungry government who is rapidly converting farmland into SEZ, paying a quick meager sum to the farmers and selling off the land for real estate, manufacturing and IT, there are a plethora of such areas cropping up. Today those areas look like the wilderness, wild and beautiful, requiring one to take alternate round about to get there are the official roads to this place are under construction, and it will take a while before they become accessible from those routes. And then one also needs the surrounding infrastructure to come up, so that after you walk out of the 'gated' community, you don't bump into a loitering gang of naxallites! All this means that you can't getting any close to work today... you gotta wait! Now how on earth was I supposed to know that the government would chose this spot for the zone they want to develop and not where I stay??

Sometimes life does get you into spots like these.... you need to choose....

Monday, October 27, 2008

The master of satire...

my all time favorite writer has been P.G. Wodehouse who is one of the most prolific writers of all times... as a person i admire people who have an acute sense of humor. Wodehouse an incredibly intelligent and creative guy, who in my opinion, intended to make his audience 'us', see life on the lighter side using wit blended with comedy. In his stories Wodehouse created plots that were trivial, characters that were really idiosyncratic and comical, and a wealth of vocabulary.

Usually, if situations similar to those arising in his stories had happened in our real lives, they would have given rise to a deluge of emotional conflicts and ended in terribly unhappy people around us. But Wodehouse transcends our imagination with his keen ability in making a mockery of the stoic so very 'Ennglish' characters and the shiftless plot, that one would irrefutably burst into a fit of laughter...

Let's look at one of the most famous alliances in the Jeeves and Wooster series. To introduce the characters and give you a little background first-Madeline Bassett is the kind of girl who thinks that "the stars are God's daisy chain", or that "every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born". LOL... Madeline imagines that ol' Bertie Wooster is madly in love with her and is always finding ways to win her heart. She sympathizes with this feeling of Bertie, but unfortunately she and the 'fish-faced' 'newt fancier' are in love and betrothed! So she promises Bertie, much to his dismay, that if she ever were to break off her engagement with Gussie, she would certainly consider marrying Bertie. This proposition traumatizes Bertie tremendously as in reality, as the thought of marrying Madeline has him feel like bracing for cover. Given Gussie's talents and dim-witted intelligence he inadvertently creates situations that cause our dainty dear Madeline to break their engagement. Wooster is the first to either predict or get informed about such a situation; sometimes Gussie himself rushes to Wooster for rescue. Wooster relies on the intelligence on Jeeves in such situations, or if he can't access to Jeeves for some reason, he applies his Wooster-brain and Wooster-tactics, to ensure that Gussie and Madeline get back together as soon as possible, before Madeline can even start contemplating on marrying Wooster!!

The other extremely funny plots are that of Bertie and his two infamous aunts. Aunt Agatha, who Bertie describes as the one who chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth! Aunt Dahlia, fortunately for Bertie, is a sweet old aunt who is fond of her nephew.

An amalgamation of such trivial plots, and an acute sense of wit, give rise to the most wondrous and hilarious comedies of all times, and has the reader ROTFL. Read / reread as many times and you still connect each time you read them... PG Wodehouse is truly a master of satire...

Here are a few rather typical and hilarious dialogues i could capture....

[From the world of Jeeves]

"Bertie," he said, "I want your advice."

"Carry on."

"At least, not your advice, because that wouldn't be much good to anybody. I mean, you're a pretty consummate old ass, aren't you? Not that I want to hurt your feelings, of course."

"No, no, I see that."

"What I wish you to do is put the whole thing to that fellow Jeeves of yours, and see what he suggests. [...]"

[From Scoring Off Jeeves]

My late Uncle Henry, you see, was by way of being the blot on the Wooster escutcheon. An extremely decent chappie personally [...]; but there's no doubt he did at times do rather rummy things, notably keeping eleven pet rabbits in his bedroom; and I suppose a purist might have considered him more or less off his onion. In fact, to be perfectly frank, he wound up his career, happy to the last and completely surrounded by rabbits, in some sort of home.


[From The Artistic Career of Corky]

"Not those socks, Jeeves," I said, gulping a bit but having a dash at the careless, off-hand sort of tone. "Give me the purple ones."

"I beg your pardon, sir?" said Jeeves, coldly.

"Those jolly purple ones."

"Very good, sir."

He lugged them out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of his salad. You could see he was feeling deeply. Deuced painful and all that, this sort of thing, but a fellow has got to assert himself every now and then.


[From Jeeves and the Chump Cyril]

"What ho!" I said.

"What ho!" said Motty.

"What ho! What ho!"

"What ho! What ho! What ho!"

After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.


[From The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy]

"Nevertheless, Jeeves, it is a scientific fact that there is a particular style of female that does seem strangely attracted to the sort of fellow I am."

"Very true, sir."

"I mean to say, I know perfectly well that I've got, roughly speaking, half the amount of brain a normal bloke ought to possess. And when a girl comes along who has about twice the regular allowance, she too often makes a bee line for me with the love light in her eyes. I don't know how to account for it, but it is so."

"It may be Nature's provision for maintaining the balance of the species, sir."

I hope you're laughing now!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

My Araku-Chhattisgarh-Vizag expedition!


Am usually lost in my own world until I get involved into the situation fully. This is precisely what happened in the trip to Araku. I was going for a Trip to Araku was all I knew, and the rest of the plan that was being circulated by email was all but a passing one which I really did not read in detail as it mentioned places which I had not heard about and had no time to look up either. I was just looking forward to having a good trip and a good vacation and I had always wanted to visit Araku sometime.

The Journey

It started with us taking a bus to Vizag. Once we got there we had our car/wagon receive us and take us to the Green Park hotel for getting fresh and breakfast. Breakfast was awesome… I indulged a lot beyond what is usually expected of me owing to my stature! Soon after breakfast we set off on the drive, to what I came to know now, to a place called Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh, which was around 280 kms from Vizag! A long drive that would be in our Indian conditions… We had to exit Andhra Pradesh and drive through Orissa to get there. We started off on the journey and I was longing to get out of the humid weather of Vizag ASAP.

But it wasn’t long before I began to realize that this was the most beautiful journey I had by road so far. Orissa with it’s a lush green cover and the Eastern Ghats running along the route we took were the first things that had us in awe and amazement giving a treat to our eyes wherever we looked. I noticed that the Eastern Ghats were distinctly different from Western Ghats, and are much more undeveloped and unexplored! This feeling of the getting to see the unknown, and not to forget mentioning with some amazingly good music (from the collection of our key organizer), created the mood for a wonderful trip and seemed to propagate a feeling of getting a brief stint with adventure...

Paparazzi in action!

The weather and surrounding landscape were both exceptionally stunning and convinced me that there is probably some hope left in our ‘globally warmed’ planet. I was extremely gratified to be on this trip. The ghat roads, the cloudy weather with low cumulonimbus, the sudden spells of heavy rain, and the wet highway roads just after the rain, created the perfect concoction for a trip like this. All through the drive we stopped innumerable times to capture the magnificence of nature that our eyes could see, to our amateur cameras to look in awe and enjoy these moments in future. Each of us made the best effort to put our photography skills to the test and capture some of the best shots of nature; from the lush green cover to the hills and the plains, to wet roads, passing clouds, rain and thunder clouds, to lakes and lone boats, fishermen, villagers, tribal people, you name it and we captured those moments to a still! This was incredibly a satisfying experience…What we experienced was nature at its very best!

@ Jagdalpur

We reached Jagdalpur late in the evening and put up at the tourism bungalow, which was very attractively done up from the outside. Our rooms were nice and had all the necessary amenities, and expect for a few misadventures with a leaking air-conditioner we had a good time that evening, and went off to bed with anticipation of the next day when we would be able to see the waterfalls that we had come all the way to see.

The next morning we checked out of the bungalow after taking enough pictures of the place, and set off to Chitrakoot, 37 kms from Jagdalpur, after a most sumptuous brunch at a Rajasthani mess. During the short drive we were not very expectant of seeing something really fabulous except for what we had heard about this place. They said that one could sometimes see a rainbow on the falls! We crossed a bridge over the Indravati River, which looked pretty narrow and calm. We reached in about 30 minutes and as we got out of our car, we could hear this very loud but comforting sound of water falling. We were pretty surprised that we didn’t even need tickets to get to the waterfalls, on the other hand we saw the place being guarded by plain clothes security guards with AK-47 rifles!! This was scary, as for a moment I thought these guys were the naxals themselves!! The state of Chhattisgarh is one of the most naxal-affected states in our country and from what I heard later, even locals have not dared to come and see these falls due to the naxals. This also explained why there was no entry ticket or publicity by tourism.

The sight, sound, and force of the waterfalls was breathtaking! That puny little river grew so huge before it fell into the gorge and created one of the most spectacular waterfalls I had seen in this part of the country! The falls did resemble the Niagara owing to its shape, except that the water was muddy due to the rainy season. We allowed our eyes to gaze at this fantastic sight for as long as we could, not to forget taking enough pictures and videos, to remind us of the feel the waterfalls gave us, for future viewing.

Journey to Araku

The next part of the journey to our main destination, the Araku valley, was shorter owing to the fact that there was another route from Chhattisgarh to Araku that was only 150 kms. We would be at Araku pretty soon is what we assumed, but nature was a major distraction once again, and succeeded in leading us off the time schedule. All through the driver we stopped, exclaimed, wondered in awe, refreshed our lungs and minds, and replenished our energies… When we were just 15 mins away from reaching Araku one of our companions suddenly identified this absolutely serene and most impeccable spot, which had green grass, hills, a river and boats. This stopover had us raving about how untouched and non-commercial a lot of the places we drove through were. Another collection of irreplaceable shots made their way to our memories as well as memory cards!!

Araku the Destination

By now we were infamous for being delayed in our schedules; so we reached our hotel at Araku booked at the AP Tourism, Hotel Harita, much after dark. We checked into our rooms, ordered dinner combined with a short get together, over some good music and had a good rest off the evening before taking off bed pretty late that night. The next day was the bigger plan of going out to see the beautiful valley! But alas, the next morning we were late to wake up, owing to exhaustion from travel and a late night, and were quite late to start. This made is realize that we would have to compromise a few of the plans like going to the Borra caves, maybe we could just make it to the beach at Vizag before taking our bus back home. But we started off soon enough and had a lot more splendid encounters with nature in the form of Araku valley. All through the drive we looked around our surrounding of the Araku valley with awe-inspiring amazement. Our stop at some of the viewpoints were fruitful in giving us some amazing views of the entire valley and its terrain. We didn’t get an opportunity to socialize with the tribals of this valley and watch them dance for us, but the drive up the hill was stupefying! The highest point is around 3800 ft and we saw clouds on the tops of the hills!! The most marvelous scenery I must say… After this we managed to visit the water reservoir in the valley, which they seemed to have dammed up on one side of the valley to create a reservoir; an interesting concept that gave us another wonderful sight to gape at!!

Back to Vizag

This was again just another 150 kms and we got back in time to have a good, though late lunch at Hotel Greenpark again. Thankfully since it was a Sunday there were enough customers and they were still serving lunch after 3 in the afternoon. I had the most amazing pasta here, and every time I went back for another helping it would be over! Soon after lunch, we started off for the beach, though one of our companions had to leave owing to his flight time and some personal meetings. Given the limited time we headed straight to the Rishikonda beach, which has the most fantastic, blue and clear water, which you will see in few beaches in India. One thing quite unlike other beaches is that the salt content in the water is pretty high and a single dip can make you feel like you’re in a pretty sticky beach/situation J It was a short but as I would put it, a time well-spent at the Rishikonda beach; imagine taking a wooden boat into the sea! It was a fun ride with the waves nearly toppling the boat over owing to the tide being quite high on this day. We played in the water and got ourselves soaked wet and had to book another place to change in time before we could catch our bus back. The hotel right next to the beach was the Harita, by AP tourism again and the building’s design was interesting with its beach-facing cottage-looking rooms with a nice beach-facing balcony. We got some amazing shots of the beach from the exterior of this hotel and surprisingly even spotted a rainbow that might have formed due to the drizzle that was on.


We finally got on our bus back to Hyderabad, though tired but completely rejuvenated by the trip. But another eventuality that fogged me a while after this trip, was that I was completely in love with this city, Vizag… so calm and peaceful, with a beautiful green cover, broad roads in a great condition and such less traffic and population! Seemed like the perfect city to be in. Some bungalows we saw along the beach got me tempted to buy property here. This place seemed to have a lot of potential after Hyderabad, as I see Hyderabad reaching a saturation point and the infrastructure not to cope with the dramatic metamorphosis and development that is taking place. Satyam and Infy had setup huge offices at Vizag owing to the cheaper cost and the availability of land. Now let’s save this discussion for another blogpost!

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Still waters are comforting ... serene

The poem goes thus ...

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

This is amazingly true of mine, and a lot of people’s lives today. It is commendable that W.H. Davis wrote this in the early 1900’s… I figure this is a poem that will always be very current. These days we long to see nature, wildlife and all the mush, cos all we see around us is concrete structures, traffic jams, terrorism and god knows what else.

Mountains and hills are always a treat to the eye, especially when roads wind around them seeming to go to an unknown destination...

The colors of nature brighten up our lives like nothing else...

But look at the concrete jungle encroaching upon nature... this is what we see each day!!! (This is a picture of the once 'Secret' lake at Hyderabad, which I heard of during school. A part of this lake is still around, but tragically, there's isn't any secret left here anymore!!)

Ironically, we long to be closer to nature, and yet choose to live this way....

Some good quotes

"Far better it is to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that know not victory or danger."
- Theodore Roosevelt

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
- Albert Einstein

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
- Winston Churchill

Thursday, July 17, 2008

An experience to remember... GO Plus program

What an experience it was... the program was well organized and all of us reached the destined spot ICRISAT on Thursday evening (10 Jul 08). ICRISAT ( stands for International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid tropics. Hyderabad being a semi-arid land was chosen by the United Nations to setup headquarters.

Located at Patancheru Village, unruffled by the hustle of the city, this place makes the ideal spot for a company outing. With good food, accommodation and acres of land available for crop cultivation and research, housing the research institute's employees and students, ICRISAT seemed like the perfect place to be with your coworkers and let go of any pseudo-professionalism that we display in our work life. Being a new team, this was the opportunity to get to know other facets of the persons on the team. This was something I was looking forward to for sure.

The weather that evening was pleasant, and the short drive to the destination was a pleasurable one. Once we reached we were directed to our rooms and were asked to assemble at a designated spot for coffee and snacks. The trainer was observing us during this break, and once we were done he got introduced to us and got us onto the icebreaker for the event. The task was to get into the conference room with the legs of all in the group tied-up! Imagine a group of 17 with tied legs trying to enter a room from the exterior of the building... incredible isn’t it? This was fun and we managed it well… Once inside the room our trainer Sree Kumar (Sree) told us the agenda for the 2 days and then got us onto our task-based learning games, each of which at the end had to be reiterated and analyzed for things like ‘what went well’, ‘what did not’, ‘why’, and ‘how could it have been better’. This was done over the 2-days time period we had allotted to us.

The games were each directed to a value that the company wanted us to imbibe and implement in our work and life. The mode of teaching was experiential learning in a simulated environment. So here we get to make the mistakes and learn from them, without the company paying the cost of the loss. The biggest point getting reinforced in each game was teamwork, and learning to cope with a team containing people with varied skill sets, performance levels, and still achieving the goals set for each team, which in turn benefits the company as a whole. Smart strategy, but excellent learning each one was. So after each game we would derive the values of the company from the game. Except for the extremely early morning events, and the record-price I ended up paying for turning in late, it was an exhaustive training, and the points our company wanted to make got drilled in pretty well. Thanks to our trainer Sree…

But events like these seem incomplete without any real eventualities. Such eventualities make the event memorable, and unless they lead to extremely negative situations, they leave a lasting impression in all the attendee’s memories and urge us to reminisce days, months and years later. So what kind of eventualities can occur in such a beautiful, serene and perfect holiday spot? Now let us look at the details of the event… the games allowed us time for breaks where we were given time to explore the place and use the facilities at our leisure time. Some of the things we did as a group were indelible—from cycling around the facility, to gathering in the moonlight outside our flatlets, to photographing the landscape, to organizing two different surprises in advance for a team member’s birthday, to learning the Birdie dance and the Hustle from an instructor in the team, dancing to music from a car stereo at 11 PM at night—there was little that we left undone in two days and it was truly a remarkable experience overall. Amidst this blissful time be fell a few unforgiving moments. While we were all gathered at the poolside, me with my camera, trying to cover to my best effort all the fun and frolic happening, one team member survived what could have been a pretty bad accident. Now this one was scary… imagine me with my camera trying to capture my best shots of all the happenings and all of a sudden someone there in the pool is almost drowning in front of my eyes! He was promptly rescued by the poolside guy using a long stick with a lasso…a very narrow escape. No sooner than I had recovered from this shock, after we went back to our rooms, that I managed to crush my finger of the right hand behind a door, and had it bleeding and hurting till the next day. The pain was excruciating and the cut was a nasty one… Imagine my skin split up with the impact of the door on it… quite a bewildering experience it was. My finger later became a topic of jest due to its real world significance, what with blokes coming up with comic analogies and illustrations of the ordeal. On being asked about what happened to me, I would point my ‘right-hand’ ‘middle finger’ at folks to showcase my affliction… funny isn’t it? Thankfully I was fortunate to have someone dress up the wound frequently enough.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


TrrafficKKKKK... do I need to say more... I know you would say... now don't get started. I understand why one would say this; it is a never-ending discussion! Does anything ever change the situation, no matter how many times you crib in a day, regardless of how often your car is kissed by another 'body of mass' constituting traffic! ridiculous!

For someone like me who loves to drive, the 'traffic' just takes away the fun of it. In some unobtrusive moments I mull over the ordeal, and try to add a punch of humor to the whole situation.

One perspective is to look at the road as a F1 racetrack and with the attitude; I get there no matter what comes dude! Watch out fellas, am coming! Start from home in full vigor, ready to take over the world, turn on your music real loud, turn on the air-conditioner and get ready to hit the road. The first encounter on the way, the 'infamous' auto-rickshaw (
aahhh my fav topic in trafficK) The bloke thinks he rules the road himself as he just has a 3-wheeler and can get through the narrowest lacuna you create. Now your objective is to avoid any such eventuality and make ‘your’ way first. You start the despicable honking, yeah man, behold, my horn is louder than yours and am gonna blow your ears offff!!! honk honk... honk honk... annnnnnnnnnnddd wheeee he's forced to move left now you zip around him from the right-side and yippppeeeee... I made it!

Now am on the main road, and driving amongst other 4-wheelers, all very solemn and sedate; wondering where they would be able to make it on time for that 10 AM meeting, or have to show a sorry face. We drive on much slower now, the number of cars only increase until we come to that ill-fated halt! Now I have a ton of cars in front of me, to the left and the right; even behind... could one get into a stickier situation than this??? This really kills the morning spirit... does it... duh???? What next? The best thing to do in a situation like this is to find comfort in another’s travails. Its really simple actually, just look around at the drivers of the other 4-wheeled masses around you; some totally placid, other lackadaisical, and interestingly some on the
qui vive, waiting to take off at that slightest stir.

But we’re not done until we add the icing to this wonnnderful chocolate cake we’re in the process of making. Us on the 4-wheeled masses often tend to go amiss, as we tend to ignore the trivia—introducing the 2-wheeled roadies! These dudes have just always excelled in the art of ‘making their way’ through the smallest fissures you despairingly leave for want of a little space or just from getting your ‘manually’ controlled side view mirror from closing like an automatic one! Oh how could we have missed them??? Amidst the intergalactic masses, neatly parked; after having put a lot of effort into ‘not’ leaving that last inch, you per chance hear that little zoom n zippin sound, and alas he is here, parked right in front on you and that too at an angle, so he can ‘fit’ the gap!!! After all that effort, he still makes it!!! They’re all aliens…Uhh God! life is unfair… And that’s not the end there again; everyone behind is now following the leader, and before you know it, you find yourself surrounded by a swaarm of bees!!! Zip zip zip, one behind the other they all wrench their way through!! But everyone’s not perfect there now, so there’s needs to be that little causality, oh stop stop, there goes my side view mirror, turned a 180 degrees in the opposite direction!!! The blighter just looks back at you with this half unapologetic look and pushes off!!! What a bummer!!! It transcends my imagination how 'closely' we miss each other, when we do of course; just by inches and centimeters! We spoke about killing the spirit earlier, and I will have to reiterate that… this kills the spirit dude! What’s next now?

We finally break off from that intergalactic mass and move on, the jam is tardily freeing, but we’re still inching, with foot on the clutch, pulling up the remnant enthuse, we move on, with the 2-wheeled body guards escorting us omni-directionally!

Suddenly, what’s that noise? Ambulance? Police? Oh no, I know that sound, it’s the VIPs. Of course, it had to be them, office time is the time they choose to make it to the venue of their mass gatherings, addressing the common man before the election time. No wonder we were parked like the army waiting for the king to make his way first… and then the commons!

Finally, when one does get to work, one is nothing short of some delectable tangdi kabab or over cooked barbeque chicken or??? At this point of time, the thought of the journey back home is just another incomprehensible one....

And thus one makes the relentless effort each day through this mad mad congestion, and still survives it… aah life is a miracle, we survive most of the things no matter how frustrating!! You look on and so do the incapacitated traffic police. Now lets not start that discussion ... :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Low clouds engulf Hitec city, Hyderabad

The other day when I started off from work, the first sight of these clouds left me awed! Looking up from the parking lot, it seemed like this dark and jet black nimbus was waiting swallow the building just below it! I have never seen such low and dark clouds in such a populated area.. I had to stop and take these pics... Felt like a thunderstorm was on its way and it would rain cats and dogs, and wash out everything!

But surprisingly there was no rain :(

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The winning streak? Is there something like this?

What's this winning streak? Something I always wondered as I grew up... why is it that in a highly competitive world, where there's no dearth of talent, confidence and skills, there are those who always win, and win their way through and through, making and breaking records, making history and leaving the world in awe of their adeptness! Watching them take the winning shots is such a marvel and leaves each one astounded, applauding and celebrating in excitement... Their persistence and consistency is commendable.

Was just watching the French open match between the World No. 1 Roger Federer and World No. 2 Rafael Nadal... Roger Federer, the undisputed champion, made history in breaking world records in tennis, 12 grand slams in a row, lost the French open to Nadal for the fourth time in a row, sharing the record with Bjorn Borg! Roger Federer beat all but one Rafeal Nadal at the French open. While Nadal has been a winner for four years at a stretch, Federer has been a runner-up for three of them... he won all but the French open! Nadal's nimbleness on the clay court has compelled Federer to accept defeat and laud him "a hell of a clay court player". But Federer still remains the winner of the greatest number of titles today, due to his versatility in playing on different types of courts, except that Nadal just kept his title as the number one player on clay courts. Finally at the ceremony, both Federer and Nadal displayed some true sportsman qualities by acknowledging the capabilities of their strongest contender (each other), displaying some exemplary behavior for the world to learn from.

To cite some more top performers in the field of sports, we have Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion in F1 racing, World No. 1 golfer Tiger Woods, or David Beckham one of the world’s finest footballers, and the list of persons with the ‘winning streak’ goes on… They all retired winners and have left people like me wondering what gives them an edge over the best of them? Why them every time? Their consistency in winning world acclaim leaves me dumbstruck… I then wonder what can we learn from them? I keep reading about their lives and how they went through life and made it big.

Lessons we can learn?

To answer some questions that I kept asking, I can quickly jot a few things that come to my mind:

- Identify your correctly and work towards perfecting it

- Start at an early age

- Be persistent and enduring

- Work on your confidence levels

- Work to improve on your weaknesses and and leverage on your strengths

Well well well… thinking of all this was exhausting for me; am still quite stupefied…what do you guys think? I need to get some sleep now....

Monday, June 02, 2008

Politicians are synonymous with corruption?

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.
- Winston Churchill

As a child my parents would tell me that I should read the newspaper. No matter how much I tried I could never develop an interest towards it, as almost 70% of the news is related to politics in the country. Over time I realized, that our politicians are better known for their skills at exploiting people the money collected as tax from hard working citizens, thus we don't see it getting used for the benefit of the nation and it’s people. I used to wonder, where does all the money go? All the huge amounts that are declared as sanctioned for certain sectors for development do not seem to reach their intended destinations, especially the poor and needy. I always thought why do we need a corrupt government like this. Thus I developed a repulsion to read the daily news, and I must say lost out on a lot of so-called 'general knowledge' on politics. GK questions on politics would probably be like, which year did the Bofors scam happen? When did Laloo get famous with the fodder scam? Our leaders of the highest order are corrupt and misuse their power and contacts to create a corrupt and contaminated environment!

Today's news, 3 cops kidnapped someone and asked for a ransom! It’s astounded me that the holders of the law themselves are corrupt!! Why is our nation failing to show more integrity, it isn't that there aren't genuine people in the system, but the presence of one bad egg is enough to pollute the entire system, and there's not one but so many of them! Extermely exasperating....

I, and many people in my generation literally detest politicians. No matter how much I try, I cannot bring myself to just accept stuff like 'Thats the ways it is" and similar bull! I remember one of my colleagues once commenting that the terrorists should blow up all the politicians and not the common people, and an entire new league of politicians should be elected. For a while I was quite shocked and later came to somehow like the idea. Would it work? Would we really have a fresh lot of people, with fresh ideas and a genuine intent to develop our nation and the people? Another common thought is that they should fight and kill each other and the entire lot of them, get eliminated!

As I pondered over these thoughts more and more, I realized that eliminating them wouldn't end corruption, like eliminating terrorists does not end terrorism as such... It's more a mindset and needs something different than elimination. Our country needs reform and an entire new way of doing things. We need more individuals to take ownership and responsibility of the areas that need work in our nation, and I think several NGOs are doing a pretty fabulous job! We need an entire breed of leaders who are willing to strive for a better life for each of us, and our nation as a whole.

I believe that such incidents of corruption and treason bring shame to our country! In our country all we see hyped about the country is culture, tradition, rituals, blah blah blah blah! What's point of all this hype when we create a bad name internationally! Cheerleaders are a big topic for discussion, when the time spent on it is not even worth it! My message to people and politicians is that, guys wake up!! We have bigger and more compelling issues to be dealt with in such times. Let's work on the real issues and not bother with trivial stuff, and waste the time of a 1.2 billion population!

As an ode to a dream that needs to be realized for our nation, I would like to quote Rabindranath Tagore here: -

Let my country awake

Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Can we make a difference to make such a dream be realized for our country? I wonder how it will be possible... Let's unite as a country and contribute to the realization of such a dream!